The United States on Wednesday condemned an attack on a pro-government television station in Damascus which killed seven staff members in the latest development of an uprising against the Syrian regime.
“We condemn all acts of violence including those targeting pro-regime elements,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, while rebuking President Bashar al-Assad for the death of civilians in a brutal crackdown.
Live footage broadcast by Syrian state television showed extensive damage to the studios of Al-Ikhbariya satellite channel outside the capital with several small fires still burning.
“The terrorist groups stormed the offices of Al-Ikhbariya, planted explosives in the studios and blew them up along with the equipment,” Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told state television in a live interview.
“They carried out the worst massacre against the media, executing journalists and security staff,” Zohbi said, adding that a number of staff were kidnapped.
Three journalists and four security guards were killed, state media said.
Press watchdog Reporters Without Borders called for members of a U.N. observer mission, which suspended its operations on June 16 in the face of worsening violence, to visit the scene to ascertain the facts.
Opposition monitor groups said that violence against civilians continued in Syria on Wednesday.
The Local Coordination Committee (LCC) said that the death toll has risen to 35 people killed across Syria by the country’s security forces. The Revolutionary Common Council, Meanwhile, said heavy shelling killed 25 people in Deir al-Zour alone.
The Syrian Media Center said that mortars were fired at a refugee camp in Deraa.
And another group, the Sham Network, said that heavy explosions rocked the area surrounding Hamouriya city in the countryside of Damascus, but did not report of any death toll.
Early Thursday, LCC reported Wednesday's death toll to be around 104 people killed by Syria’s security forces.